To be honest, I have not actually “done it all”. I have used the same clinic with each of my pregnancies but I have given birth in three different locations. I want to tell about what I have found to be true at each so that you can make the best decision for your family. I understand that not every pregnancy will have the location options that I had. This is not a sponsored post but the reality is that there are only so many birth options in Flagstaff so I will be referring to each of them by name. A mention is not an endorsement unless otherwise stipulated.
Flagstaff Medical Center
The most obvious/mainstream/typical/American of birth locations. Hospital birth has only been the norm for a little over a hundred years but hospitals do exist for a reason and you may choose (or have no choice but to choose) a hospital birth. FMC is where my second baby was born, and while I had wonderful nurses and support staff, I will not be voluntarily returning.
- The cheapest option with most insurances
- Safest for high risk pregnancies
- A hospital must admit any pregnant patient
- Community resources available to come meet with you (eg, social worker, lactation consultant ect)
- A bigger push to do what is convenient for the doctor
- Can be more difficult to achieve a natural birth
- No personal feel
Flagstaff Birth and Women’s Center: birthing suite
I’m making the distinction of the birth suite because FBWC serves both in house labors and home births. Until about 6 years ago, I had never even heard of a birth center. Now it seems like most of my friends have given birth in the same room I had my first baby. Birth centers are a happy middle between hospital and homebirth and honestly, my husband’s preferred option! My personal experience with FBWC is extremely positive and a birth center birth is my first recommendation to new moms.
- Cheapest option for those without insurance (and for those with not great insurance)
- Very personalized care (appointments with midwives are nearly an hour)
- Homey feeling birth suite with medical equipment easily available but not easily seen
- Set up for water births or land births
- Midwife on call to speak to or see immediately if needed
- More options for inducing labor naturally
- No unnecessary interventions
- Wellness package included (chiropractor, massage, acupuncture, birth class, nutrition class)
- 24 hour postpartum home visit
- Patient may have to be transferred to hospital if there is an unexpected complication
- Some services need to be done elsewhere (eg. ultrasounds)
- Not every patient is accepted and only so many patients accepted per due date month
There are two midwife clinics in Flagstaff and both offer homebirth services. Personally, I have only ever gone through FBWC so my bullet points will be for that specific clinic. Many of the pros listed above and all of the cons are also included with homebirth through FBWC. My third baby was a homebirth, which made many of my loved ones confused and concerned. This is somewhat understandable and completely not their decision. My experience was great. While I think there are grand ideas of romance in a homebirth, mine was more or less just a very convenient location to give birth.
- You can set your birthing area exactly as you want it with little prep work
- Your birth team comes to you
- Birth team cleans up!
- Birth team leaves when they are done and you don’t have to go anywhere
- Extra expenses need to be paid, not covered by insurance
Something to consider is that birth outside of the hospital is the norm in most of the world without the rate of maternal mortality that the US boasts. Choose where you feel comfortable and don’t worry about what anyone but your care provider and your birth partner have to say. Labor is hard no matter where it is, but there are things that can be in your control.